This morning I rang the Co-Op bank to ask about how I close my account with them. As expected I had to write a letter on headed paper to their "Accounts Closure Team". The letter contained the usual stuff they needed to know and the following, which they didn't need to know, but I felt they ought to:

For the record I am closing my account with you purely because of the inexcusable state of your online business banking. It got to the point where it was beyond a joke. Although moving my account has taken up more of my time than I care to think about, I'm hoping that time will be saved in the future as I won't need to battle against the odds to do my day-to-day banking.

Your online business banking is quite possibly the worst online application I have ever used! And I use a lot.

If you're wondering why, it's something I mentioned recently. Since posting that I was contacted by another blogger and co-op customer who has posted on the topic quite a bit. He'd been in touch with the BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme who went on to air a feature about it. I'd offered the reporter from the Beeb some sound-bites, but they didn't, err, bite. This kind of thing can only happen on the internet.

The phone call this morning, along with writing the letter, finding the headed paper and messing about with the printer trays has taken up all of my morning so far and it's gone 10AM. Still got to walk to the post box too!

While it's given me great satisfaction closing the Co-op account it's taken up a lot of my time. Nothing is ever as simple as you'd think it should be! It's taken 3 weeks to get from applying for a new account to writing the letter to the close the old one and I've lost count of the number of phone calls I've made/received. And then there was the afternoon I spent cycling to and from my local HSBC with all the paperwork they needed. I'd say it's taken a whole day of my time to move bank account. If not more.

My hope is that the time spent moving will pay back in the future. The Co-op bank's system wouldn't allow you to setup a Standing Order, so, every month, I had to remember to go in and create three new payment requests. With HSBC I've already setup the orders and have nothing much to do each month now. Not only that but the HSBC's system is blazingly fast (in comparison) and a pleasure to use.

Good riddance co-op. I didn't want it to come to this, but your empty promises of change came to nothing.


  1. Yep. Wish it was that easy to move a Mortgage. We had all accounts with one bank I have now all but left but due to a sweet deal they offered to knock a quarter point off the interest if I paid my mortgage direct from our checking, we're stuck there unless I want the cost of an interest rate hike and/or refinancing the loan. :-( But, all our other accounts are safely to the new Credit Union, which I so far like very much ever though their website looks less polished. Lacking as much glitz, it's imminently more useful. My reasons for leaving centered more around the predatory fees I was getting hit with and the obnoxious way they were advertising to us on official letterhead in envelopes that looked like monthly statements. Boo.

    • avatar
    • Brian Miller
    • Wed 25 Nov 2009 08:36 AM

    Only now does it occur to me. Why not send them an "I can do this so much better for a small consulting fee" letter? If the price is right, maybe they'll bite.

    (I imagine that someone else though to suggest this to you a bit sooner, but just in case...)

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 25 Nov 2009 02:02 PM

      Nah. It's all about knowing your limits. There's only so much one man in his garage can do.

      I'd consider offering them usability advice/consultancy, but get the impression they don't take it seriously enough to care.

      As for coding a whole online banking system. The idea fills me with fear. Hey, I'm good, but I know my limits. I wouldn't want the burden of any bugs. I like the kind of bugs of which the consequences are explained away and then easily fixed.

  2. You certainly did the right thing -- if their online access was that bad, who know how bad their practices were behind the scenes.

      • avatar
      • Jake Howlett
      • Wed 25 Nov 2009 02:34 PM

      Well, apparently, they're supposed to be an "ethical bank" (no business dealings with third world dictators, arms companies, ICI, Nestlé etc etc) and hence the reason I chose them originally. That said, what their back office setup is like I don't know.

      Hide the rest of this thread

      1. Nestle is evil?

          • avatar
          • Jake Howlett
          • Wed 25 Nov 2009 02:56 PM


          1. :-O Makes me want to give up Perrier!

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